Category Archives: Diet

Top Medical Podcasts: ‘Diverticular Disease’ (BMJ)

Colonic diverticulosis refers to herniation of the mucosa and submucosa through the muscular layer of the colonic wall and may be the result of colonic smooth muscle over-activity. Diverticular disease may be defined as any clinical state caused by symptoms pertaining to colonic diverticula and includes a wide-ranging spectrum from asymptomatic to severe and complicated disease. 

Mohamed Thaha, Senior Lecturer & Lead Consultant in Colorectal Surgery, National Bowel Research Centre, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, tells us more. 

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Covid-19 Studies: 77% Of Hospitalized Patients Are Overweight Or Obese

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

But on its own, “BMI [body mass index] remains a strong independent risk factor” for severe COVID-19, according to several studies that adjusted for age, sex, social class, diabetes, and heart conditions, says Naveed Sattar, an expert in cardiometabolic disease at the University of Glasgow. “And it seems to be a linear line, straight up.”

  • For starters, the blood of people with obesity has an increased tendency to clot—an especially grave risk during an infection that, when severe, independently peppers the small vessels of the lungs with clots 
  • Immunity also weakens in people with obesity, in part because fat cells infiltrate the organs where immune cells are produced and stored, such as the spleen, bone marrow, and thymus, says Catherine Andersen, a nutritional scientist at Fairfield University. “We are losing immune tissue in exchange for adipose tissue, making the immune system less effective in either protecting the body from pathogens or responding to a vaccine,” she says.

The impact extends to the 32% of people in the United States who are overweight. The largest descriptive study yet of hospitalized U.S. COVID-19 patients, posted as a preprint last month by Genentech researchers, found that 77% of nearly 17,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight (29%) or obese (48%). (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines overweight as having a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kilograms per square meter, and obesity as a BMI of 30 or greater.)

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Health Videos: “You Have The Gut Microbiome You Deserve” (Cambridge)

Do you have good or bad microbiome? Or do you have the microbiome you deserve?

Gut Microbiome, the new Open Access journal from Cambridge University Press and The Nutrition Society has published its first papers, including the animated abstract above from the paper: Hill, C. (2020) “You have the microbiome you deserve,” Gut Microbiome, Cambridge University Press, 1, p. e3.

Access the paper here: https://bit.ly/3bFOjc7

Healthy Diet Podcasts: “Spoon-Fed” Author & Professor Tim Spector

According to a recent study, obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50%. Governments around the world are now hoping to encourage their citizens to lose weight. But with so much complex and often contradictory diet advice, as well as endless food fads, it can be hard to know what healthy eating actually looks like. 

How many pieces of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day? Will cutting out carbs help you lose weight? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Speaking to Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London about his new book Spoon-Fed, Madeleine Finlay asks why we’re still getting food science wrong, and explores the current scientific evidence on snacking, supplements and calorie labels. 

Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at Kings College, London and has recently been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He trained originally in rheumatology and epidemiology. In 1992 he moved into genetic epidemiology and founded the UK Twins Registry, of 13,000 twins, which is the richest collection of genotypic and phenotypic information worldwide. He is past President of the International Society of Twin Studies, directs the European Twin Registry Consortium (Discotwin) and collaborates with over 120 centres worldwide. He has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common complex traits, many previously thought to be mainly due to ageing and environment. Through genetic association studies (GWAS), his group have found over 500 novel gene loci in over 50 disease areas. He has published over 800 research articles and is ranked as being in the top 1% of the world’s most cited scientists by Thomson-Reuters. He held a prestigious European Research Council senior investigator award in epigenetics and is a NIHR Senior Investigator. His current work focuses on omics and the microbiome and directs the crowdfunded British Gut microbiome project. Together with an international team of leading scientists including researchers from King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts University, Stanford University and nutritional science company ZOE he  is conducting the largest scientific nutrition research project, showing that individual responses to the same foods are unique, even between identical twins. You can find more on https://joinzoe.com/ He is a prolific writer with several popular science books and a regular blog, focusing on genetics, epigenetics and most recently microbiome and diet (The Diet Myth). He is in demand as a public speaker and features regularly in the media.

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Infographics: “Reducing Salt In Diet & Foods To Improve Blood Pressure”

Tip To Improve Blood Pressure - Infographic - Eufic

Does reducing salt improve our blood pressure?

There is consistent evidence that moderate reductions (i.e. a decrease of 3 to 5 g or ½ to 1 teaspoon a day) in salt intake can lead to a reduction in blood pressure.5,6 However, these effects may not be the same for everyone and will depend on an individual’s starting blood pressure (greater benefits are seen in those with higher blood pressure), their current level of salt intake, genetics, disease status and medication use.

It is important to note that salt is not the only lifestyle factor that can influence our blood pressure. Other factors such as eating enough potassium, maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, and being physically active are also important when it comes to reducing blood pressure. You can find 7 lifestyle tips to help reduce blood pressure here.

High salt foods:

  • Processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages and ham
  • Cheeses
  • Gravy granules, stock cubes, yeast extracts
  • Olives, pickles and other pickled foods
  • Salted and dry-roasted nuts and crisps
  • Salted and smoked meat and fish
  • Sauces: soy sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce

How Much Salt Is Too Much Salt - Infographic Eufic

What is salt?

Salt is the common name for sodium chloride (or NaCl). It consists of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. In other words, 2.5 g of salt contains 1 g of sodium and 1.5 g of chloride.

Why do we need salt?

Both sodium and chloride are essential for many body functions. They help regulate blood pressure, control fluid balance, maintain the right conditions for muscle and nerve function and allow for the absorption and transport of nutrients across cell membranes. Chloride is also used to produce stomach acid (hydrochloric acid, HCl) which helps us digest foods.

How much salt do we need per day?

The exact minimum daily requirement for salt is unknown, but it is thought to be around 1.25 g – 2.5 g (0.5 – 1 g sodium) per day.1 As salt is found in a large variety of foods the risk of deficiency is low.1,2 The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has stated that a salt intake of 5 g per day (equivalent to 2 g of sodium) is sufficient to meet both our sodium and chloride requirements as well as reduce our risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.1,2 This is equivalent to around 1 teaspoon of salt per day from all sources.

Both sodium and chloride are released from our body through our urine and when we sweat. This means bouts of heavy sweating such as during exercise can increase our salt requirements slightly. However, as most people consume well above required levels it is usually not necessary to increase salt intake during these conditions.1

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Food Trends: American “Fresh Seaweed” Products Are Expanding (Podcast)

NPR PodcastAtlantic Sea Farms is the largest commercial seaweed farm in the U.S. They line-grow their seaweed in clear, icy cold Maine waters. The seaweed — which is sold frozen in pureed cubes and in ready to eat cut strands and fermented products — is never dyed or dehydrated.

Beyond sushi restaurants and roasted snacks, seaweed is increasingly accepted, appreciated, even adored, in American kitchens — and for good reason.

Seaweed is really good for you. It’s loaded with potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B12, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and tons of calcium. And then there’s the umami bomb of taste: briny, sweet, meaty, and vegetal are just some of the ways cooks describe the flavor of various seaweeds.

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Studies: 4- And 6-Hour Time-Restricted Eating (TRE) Diets, No Food Limits Result In Weight Loss

UIC Chicago Illinois
University of Illinois, Chicago (July 15, 2020)

“The findings of this study are promising and reinforce what we’ve seen in other studies — fasting diets are a viable option for people who want to lose weight, especially for people who do not want to count calories or find other diets to be fatiguing,” Varady said. 

…participants in both daily fasting groups reduced calorie intake by about 550 calories each day simply by adhering to the schedule and lost about 3% of their body weight. The researchers also found that insulin resistance and oxidative stress levels were reduced among participants in the study groups when compared with the control group.

4- And 6-Hour Time Restricted Eating TRE DietsTwo daily fasting diets, also known as time-restricted feeding diets, are effective for weight loss, according to a new study published by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study reported results from a clinical trial that compared a 4-hour time-restricted feeding diet and a 6-hour time-restricted feeding diet to a control group.

“This is the first human clinical trial to compare the effects of two popular forms of time-restricted feeding on body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors,” said Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and corresponding author of the story.

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Diet Studies: Benefits Of “Time-Restricted Eating” (TRE) Improve With Greater Time Restriction

From iScience / Cell.com (June 26, 2020):

iScience June 26 2020…the beneficial effects of TRE are dose dependent, with greater reductions in body weight, fat mass, and improvement in glucose tolerance when a 9-h protocol was implemented versus 12 and 15 h. The optimal TRE time frame to recommend for people has not been tested. Clear improvements have been noted after 6-, 8-, 9-, and 10-h protocols. It is likely that the greater time restriction would result in greater weight losses, which may maximize the metabolic benefits.

Eating out of phase with daily circadian rhythms induces metabolic desynchrony in peripheral metabolic organs and may increase chronic disease risk. Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a dietary approach that consolidates all calorie intake to 6- to 10-h periods during the active phase of the day, without necessarily altering diet quality and quantity.

Time-Restricted Eating

TRE reduces body weight, improves glucose tolerance, protects from hepatosteatosis, increases metabolic flexibility, reduces atherogenic lipids and blood pressure, and improves gut function and cardiometabolic health in preclinical studies. This review discusses the importance of meal timing on the circadian system, the metabolic health benefits of TRE in preclinical models and humans, the possible mechanisms of action, the challenges we face in implementing TRE in humans, and the possible consequences of delaying initiation of TRE.

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